New Delhi, Aug 17: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has left for his heavenly abode and but his mortal remains will be given his due close to the place where other great leaders of the country are laid to the rest. But roads of Delhi will miss his footmarks which were blown away by the wind of time. From 110 South Avenue flat to 1 Ferozshah Road to 7 Race Course Road to 6-A Krishna Menon Marg to Smriti Sthal, this is how his journey could be summed up.
An octogenarian journalist, who has not only the experience of having closely connected with the former PM but undertook several journeys with him, Manmohan Sharma told One India that after getting elected to the Lok Sabha from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh, he was allotted flat no 110 in South Avenue. There was no personal vehicle with most of the politicians of the time, he relied on public transport for over 10 years as even the party did not have funds to purchase vehicles.
Sharma said, "There used to be 1-15 vehicle in Parliament premisses mostly belonging to minister except one Mercedes that belonged to Pilu Modi."
He further said that the office of Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJP) and many other offices were at Azmeri Gate and he used to visit them by public transport and used to walk all the way to Parliament from his South Avenue residence. He used to have lunch at the Parliament canteen along with many of his friends and RSS leader a few prominent faces included Yadav Rao Deshmukh, Dattopant Thengri and Ravindra Banerjee.
With the growth of party the BJP office was later shifted to Vitthal Bhai Patel House (VP House) in New Delhi which was close to Parliament before it was shifted to 30 Rajendra Prashad Road and finally moving to 11 Ashok Road which was allotted to the then minister Jaisukhlal Hathi, which finally became the office of the BJP from where the BJP came to power and Vajpayee became the PM.
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Jagdish Mathur used to take care of the party office even from the time when the BJS office was at Azmeri Gate. Everyone knows that Vajpayee ji was very fond of sweets, many other Indian food along with non-vegetation foods then he was also fond of dogs. He had two dogs when he was living at Feroz Shah Road.
Manmohan Sharma said, "When the party was confined to two seats he used to walk in the morning along with his dog and used to meet passers by. I happened to meet him several time." But this was the time after which BJP emerged under the leadership of Vajpayee-Advani to become principal party of the ruling alliance, which obviously distanced these leaders from the people due to looming terrorist threats on leaders of the country. But Vajpayee still be remembered as the leaders of the workers.